Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

June 29, 2015

Discovery nabs European TV rights to 2018-2024 Olympics

Discovery Communications is becoming the new European broadcaster of the Olympic Games.

In a $1.45 billion deal announced Monday, Discovery's Eurosport channels will televise the 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2024 games on television and on the Internet. When it comes to the Olympics, Discovery will effectively become the NBC of Europe -- the sole rights-holder for the games.

The European rights to the Olympics are currently split up, country by country, across Europe. Discovery said the deal marks the first time the International Olympic Committee has sold all the European rights to a single media company.

Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, said, "Discovery and Eurosport have demonstrated a major commitment to the Olympic Games, to Olympic sports and to the future of the Olympic Movement." He added, "The revenue generated from this long-term partnership will be redistributed by the IOC across the Olympic Movement to support the development of sport around the world."

Discovery Communications, a media company best known in the United States for channels like TLC, Animal Planet and its flagship Discovery channel, has been growing rapidly in other countries and has been seeking more sports programming.

Media companies have found that sports, particularly live events, are hugely valuable in an age of ad-skipping and on-demand viewing.

The Olympics are one of the best examples of this. The winter and summer games are indelible events, instantly recognized around the world.

That's partly why NBCUniversal pays billions of dollars for the rights to air the games in the U.S. Last year, the network agreed to pay $7.75 billion to extend its contract from 2022 to 2032.

In Europe, the television rights in France and the United Kingdom were already sold through 2020, so the Discovery deals there will take effect in 2022. Everywhere else, from Albania to Ukraine, it'll start in 2018.

Eurosport is available across the continent via a combination of satellite, cable and Internet connections. Monday's deal is another sign of the gradual shift of Olympic programming away from broadcast television, which is free over the public airwaves, and toward subscription services.

But, as is the case with NBC in the U.S., many key Olympic events will still be available over the airwaves in Europe.

"Consistent with IOC and local market requirements, Discovery has committed to broadcast a minimum of 200 hours of the Olympic Games and 100 hours of the Olympic Winter Games on free-to-air television during the Games period," a press release stated. "Discovery will sub-license a portion of the rights in many markets across Europe."

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF